Preventing Ice Dams

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Dear NH,
In your article on roof ice dams, a reader suggested using calcium chloride in pantyhose to help melt/prevent ice dams. Would calcium chloride filled pantyhose lined up in the gutter help by allowing melted snow/ice to drain?
GL from Albany, NY

I don't know anyone who has tried it, but my first instinct is it may have minimal or even negative effects. Since ice dams begin forming on the roof, not in the gutter, placing the tubes in the gutter will not have the desired effect, which is to inhibit ice formation on the roof. Remember "Ice Dam 101." Ice dams can form on roofs without gutters, too! As a second thought, the calcium chloride will probably dissolve faster since it will be submerged during heavy rain and may also cause the gutters to overflow.

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